October 9th, 2015



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While on holiday in Berlin, a young woman finds her flirtation with a local guy turn potentially deadly as their night out with his friends reveals its secret: the four men owe someone a dangerous favor that requires repaying that evening.

Release Year: 2015

Rating: 8.2/10 (4,352 voted)

Critic's Score: 86/100

Director: Sebastian Schipper

Stars: Laia Costa, Frederick Lau, Franz Rogowski

While on holiday in Berlin, a young woman finds her flirtation with a local guy turn potentially deadly as their night out with his friends reveals its secret: the four men owe someone a dangerous favor that requires repaying that evening.

Writers: Olivia Neergaard-Holm, Sebastian Schipper

Laia Costa - Victoria
Frederick Lau - Sonne
Franz Rogowski - Boxer
Burak Yigit - Blinker
Max Mauff - Fuß
André Hennicke - Andi
Anna Lena Klenke - Junge Mutter
Hans-Ulrich Laux - Taxifahrer
Eike Frederik Schulz - Barkeeper
Adolfo Assor - Kioskverkäufer
Jan Breustedt - Rowdy
Ambar de la Horra - Victoria's Friend
Anne Düe - Frau an Kasse
Daniel Fripan - Rowdy
Martin Goeres - SEK Leader

Taglines: One girl. One city. One night. One take.


Official Website: Official site [Spain]

Country: Germany

Language: German, English, Spanish

Release Date: 9 October 2015

Filming Locations: Mitte, Berlin, Germany

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

In the scene right after the bank robbery Laia Costa actually forgot where to drive and takes the wrong turn. Everyone's outburst of panic in the car is completely genuine as they were risking filming crew members and thus ruining the whole take. Even the director Sebastian Schipper, who was lying in the trunk of the car, started screaming directions in sheer panic. His screaming was later removed during audio editing. The car actually ended up driving past crew members but none of them can be seen thanks to the cameraman who reacted quickly by filming from a much lower angle so as not to have any windows in the frame. See more »

User Review


Rating: 8/10

In 1948, Alfred Hitchcock released "Rope", a film which consists of only eleven shots. Hitchcock's intention was to film it as one continuous take, but of course, the technology was not available at the time to enable this desire. It's wonderful to see how far cinema has progressed over time, allowing masters of the craft to be able to capture moments of films in real time, and add an intense and more realistic affect to their material.

In 2002, Alexander Sokurov's "Russian Ark" premiered at Cannes. A 97 minute one-take marvel, without a specific narrative, that was filmed entirely in the Winter Palace of the Russian heritage museum. Other such films that have utilised similar techniques include "Timecode" (consisting of four separate but simultaneously continuous shots), "Birdman: or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance" (A.G. Inarritu's Oscar winning black comedy, edited to flow as one continuous take) and PVC-1 (a Columbian film consisting of one 84 minute take). We can now add Victoria to this canon of films.

The technical achievement of "Victoria" can not be completely appreciated until the final credits roll. It's exhausting. An engrossing, kinetic and intense exercise in filmmaking that will not appeal to all audiences. But, to those it does strike the appeal towards, you are in for a treat. For over two hours, the camera does not cut once. We are with our title character every step of the way. Many films that take on this bold challenge of constructing a piece of cinema using one shot often limit themselves to a single (or few) locations and rarely exceed a duration of 100 minutes.

Not Victoria.

For 134 minutes, we span across 22 locations throughout Berlin, starting at a techno club where we meet our Spanish protagonist, Victoria (played beautifully by Laia Costa). The opening shot is a pulsating one, in which you can not ignore. The blue strobe lights fade in, a beat pulsates heavily, and there, slowly coming into focus, is Victoria dancing - essentially by herself. Her loneliness is set up early on the film, with her isolated/out-of-place presence around the club and the fact that she asks the bartender himself if he'd like to have a drink.

As she leaves the club, she bumps into four men: Sonne (Frederick Lau), Boxer (Franz Rogowski), Blinker (Burak Yigit) and Fuss (Max Mauff). They're an odd set of characters (with names that would suit reindeers better) but they show Victoria attention, attention that she appears to have been craving whilst living alone in Berlin. The group appears to be led by Sonne, or at least he is the one whom Victoria hits it off with the most. They ask if she wants to join them to celebrate Fuss's birthday. Initially unsure, she agrees. Seems unlikely? Don't worry you'll be glad she did.

After spending more time with these men, moving across rooftops and through the streets, we end up at the café which Victoria works at, and which she has to open for or in the morning. Keep in mind that it's past 5AM by this point, so her sleep would be limited. This moment feels like the core of "Victoria" (as both a film and character). A sudden impromptu piano sequence shows a much more emotional side to Victoria, and further expands upon the possible romantic opportunities between herself and Sonne. The sequence which follows completely shifts the film into a separate genre, and that's what is so great about it. We have now entered the genre of 'crime', where by in which our boys owe a favour to a certain "not-to-be-reckoned-with" figure. Your heart will be in your throat during certain points as Victoria is roped into an intense bank heist.

The film is never pigeon-holed into being "one-thing". It's bold and fierece and often sprawls in unexpected directions, all the while it beautifully maintains its stunning one-shot sequence, allowing us to experience every single moment over this 2 hour + period. Is all of it necessary? Maybe not, some scenes seem a little stretched, but hey, it's part of the experience. From what I believe, the original screenplay was only about 12 pages long, meaning that the vast majority of dialogue is improvised. This is evident during various of points of the film, but it's easy to forgive any falsities. The cast (especially Costa and Lau) do an excellent job of maintaining an intense sense of realism, which may occasionally fall slack, but thankfully with Schipper's tight direction, it's not very often.

Premiering at the 66th Berlin Film Festival, cinematographer Sturla Grovlen won the Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic Contribution for Cinematography. It's no surprise as to why, the cinematography is daring and audacious and wildly contributes towards constructing a naturalistic atmosphere. It's a stunning achievement, and the film as whole is not perfect, but it knows that. It happily unfolds itself as a genre transcending piece of cinema that often has unexpected moments of dark beauty hiding up its sleeve. Enjoy.


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